Syrian army forces are seen in the Qalamoun mountains north of Damascus. (REUTERS/SANA/HO)
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Islamist militants launched brazen attacks on Hezbollah and Syrian army positions in the western Qalamoun mountain range along Lebanon's border at dawn Monday, leaving a number of fighters dead and wounded, security sources said.The fighters took up positions overlooking Hezbollah and Syrian army outposts in the towns of Wadi Barada, Al-Kfeir, Zabadani, Serghaya and Hreira.Hezbollah's Al-Manar television reported that the Syrian army killed 20 militants and wounded 50 others after targeting their positions around Al-Juba and Assal al-Ward in the Qalamoun.A Qalamoun source said that some Hezbollah fighters withdrew from the Syrian towns and headed west toward Lebanon, while fierce clashes between Hezbollah and the militants are still ongoing in some areas.Instead of withdrawing into Syrian territory, fighters positioned themselves in surrounding areas from which they waged their bombardment Monday.But another security source said that militants did not withdraw intentionally, but surrendered their positions to Hezbollah. The attack comes one day after the Nusra Front announced that it was training its fighters to use anti-tank weapons in the Qalamoun ahead of the anticipated battle with Hezbollah and the Syrian army.
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